Just in time for its one-year anniversary, Aveline is getting a fresh start with new executive chef Kaley Laird on board along with her casual, ingredient-driven and approachable menu concept. Remember, the downtown restaurant inside The Warwick Hotel had a rocky start when Top Chef alum Casey Thompson departed just six months after opening. Laird — who was Aveline’s opening pastry chef and then its sous chef — has big plans to turn things around, while maintaining Aveline’s original shtick as a California restaurant with European influences.
Baird explains, "I like to take one ingredient and really run with it. I’ll use it three or four different ways because I want to use what’s in season the best that I can while it’s available." Her current favorite dish? The house-smoked salmon. "We’ve had people say it brings them back to eating in England or Scotland," she adds.
Other menu highlights include a dip made with with dry-aged beef, cream cheese, shallots, and weck puffs and the rainbow trout with savory lemon curd, fava beans, almond, and seared strawberry. The menu at The European is also simpler, with heartier "drinking friendly" fare. Meanwhile, Laird is still in charge of the pastry menu, so her beloved brownie batter-themed dessert isn’t going anywhere. Note that Laird will also generously accommodate diners with limitations: from vegan to vegetarian to gluten-free.
Laird says changes have been made to the restaurant's interior as well. The fine dining feel of the restaurant has been updated with more casual tableware and the servers' uniforms are more relaxed. Laird will also serve a daily changing tasting menu at the four-seat chef’s counter that's "never been properly utilized." Depending how things go, the special menu may eventually be offered in the dining room as well.
Look for Aveline’s new menus to officially launch June 9. Regular dinner hours are Monday-Thursday from 5:30-10 p.m., Friday-Saturday from 5:30-10:30 p.m. Regular hours at The European are Monday-Thursday from 4 p.m. to midnight, Friday-Saturday from 3 p.m. to 1 a.m, Sunday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
— Daisy Barringer